Provençal Pairings: Wine with Food


by David Scott Allen

Winery: Le Clos du Gravillas
Cuvée: Lo Vièlh Carignan
Appellation: Côtes du Brian IGP
Region: Languedoc-Roussillon
Type: Red
Vintage: 2014
Grape Varieties: 100% Old Vine Carignan
Certification: Organic, Ecocert
Alcohol: 13.5%
Average Retail Price: $28

No, Dorothy, we aren’t in Kansas… or Provence, for that matter. But I did this intentionally. I planned to share a cassoulet on New Year’s Eve with Susan and Towny, and wanted the wine to pair perfectly.

Since I got the basic recipe for the cassoulet from John and Nicole Bojanowski, owners of Le Clos du Gravillas, it made perfect sense that we should use one of their wines and, in fact, the one they recommended. It’s always good to listen to those who know, n’est-ce pas? To see the recipe, head over to Cocoa & Lavender. (And don’t be intimidated to make this!)

We opened the wine early to decant it – about two hours before serving. Naturally, we tasted it immediately and agreed that some time commingling with our fresh Arizona air would be advantageous.

John and Nicole, our hats are off to you! This is a fantastic earthy wine, and you deserve to be proud.

A classic Carignan wine, it medium bodied, has good structure, and is well balanced, with a gorgeous velvety mouthfeel. It is smooth and rich, and forceful enough to pair perfectly with the unctuous meal beside it – a cassoulet filled with pork sausages, pork belly, duck confit, beans and, of course, extra duck fat just to temper everything.

On the palate, we detected notes of dark fruits – blackberries and mulberries – along with brighter red fruits – raspberries and red currants. The finish is long and pleasant.

This is definitely a food wine, and a savory one. We all really loved Lo Vièlh (local dialect referring to the old vines) and, aside from pairing perfectly with the cassoulet, we felt it would pair well with other stews and roasted meats or fowl.

The wine is available in the U.S., but it may take some doing to find it. It is worth the effort!


  1. If you’ve ever had a good cassoulet, you know that it is an addictive dish. There is something magical about how the flavors come together, and you will find yourself craving more and more! David made an “authentic” cassoulet and, yes, I am still craving his cassoulet six days later! The Clos du Gravillas Old Vine Carignan was a perfect pairing. Carignan is an under-appreciated grape variety and this wine is a stellar example of how sophisticated an old vine single varietal Carignan can be. The meal was terrific with a delicious wine that complemented it perfectly. Try the recipe (and the wine)…you will not be disappointed!

    • Thanks, Towny – lets just say I made it as “authentic” as I possibly could! It was a lot of fun coming up with the recipe, looking at the many versions available to us. Maybe next time we can get the Tarbais beans! The wine was truly fantastic – wish it were readily available here! Perhaps we need to make a trip to Clos du Gravillas and bring some back!

  2. I had a cassoulet once when I visited Montpellier and it was so incredibly delicious that it has stuck with me all these years! I was told that having the right beans was critical to the success of the dish so I never tried to make it. It sounds like you were successful without the Tarbais beans so I will have to give it try. Thank you for giving me the courage to tackle making a cassoulet. I will look for the wine too! Santé!

    • Eric – thank you so much for your comment! I had actually fond some Tarbais beans just for this visit, but just before Susan and Towny arrived, I discovered they were filled with beetles! I had to throw them ot (of course) but we didn’t have time to order more online. So, with a lot of research, we discovered that cannellini beans do make a great substitute and no one was disappointed! I would definitely recommend giving this a try. When I next make it, I plan to add some pork shoulder/pork butt to mine!

  3. Ive tried so many cassoulet recipes. This one looks better than anything ive made haha

  4. I got hungry just reading your story!

    I find that beans really cut down the tannins in a wine so the perfect wine for me with cassoulet is something very tannic, like a Madiran or an Irouléguy. But your wine sounds delicious as well!

    • Thanks, Keith! I had never thought of beans reducing tannins before – definitely will be trying that combination.

      I just saw your article abuot Notre Dame on Perfectly Provence and I look forward to reading it!

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